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Collingwood to Turimawiwi River

2020 Caravan Diaries

overcast 20 °C

Driving up the coast from Collingwood takes you to a great drive - it goes from a tiny place called Pakawau curving around the Whanganui Inlet, out to the west coast and down to the Turimawiwi River. I have heard from locals that it is possible to drive down to where the road up the west coast ends at Karamea, but to do that, you have to know what you're doing. I don't.

The road hugs the coastline for about 30 km - I find it a bit scary at times, when it is necessary to go across a narrow causeway: what if I meet someone half way? What if I have a sudden temptation to drive over the edge? The latter does not happen, and I only meet one vehicle, so pause before I go over to let him get out of my way.


The inlet itself is surrounded by bush and the area is a scenic reserve, so it is a little surprising to see a house stuck all by itself in the bush. I can't quite work out how people get to it - I spot a track, but it does not seem to connect, and even boat access looks awkward.


To get to the West Coast, the road has to go over a bit of a peninsular. My first time down this road, which would easily be ten years ago, I was shocked to find a cafe, the Nugget, in the middle of nowhere - at Mangarakau. I of course had to go in and check it out. I was back through a few years ago and stopped to take a photo - the owners (son and daughter-in-law of the people I encountered last time) came out to see what I was doing, and invited me in, selling me some beer to take down to the river, despite them being closed for New Year's Day. This time, the place is properly closed, so I'm on my own.

There are a couple of rivers - quite small but big enough to merit a bridge. First there's the Wairoa


and then the Paturau


Then they give up on bridges - the Anatori River has to be forded. I was first here in Webster, and didn't really see a van as a good vehicle to explore the river in. Last time I was in Old Jeep and had no hesitation. This time round, there's a big sign warning that the river is treacherous, could damage my vehicle and to proceed at my own risk. I park up for a bit, hoping another vehicle would come by and show me the way - it only takes about ten minutes and I'm on my way.


The road is really just a good farm track from here, and is quite elevated - after a few kilometres, it comes to an end at the Turimawiwi River. Yes, there is another ford, but only to allow access to the farmhouse across the river - one of our more remote sheep farms. There are a few blokes with utes, often with a quad bike on the back - no-one seems to be actually doing anything, they're just hanging about.


There's nothing for me to see here, so I head back - heading over a hill as I get near Anatori, I am struck by the lush green of the grass and the dark brown colouring of the creek running through it.


My last pause is at an old wharf not far after the road connects with the Whanganui Inlet coast - there are a few people fishing, but I doubt the wharf is up to being used for much else.


Posted by NZBarry 12:48 Archived in New Zealand

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